The Association, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, welcomed St. Vincent Distillers representing St. Vincent & the Grenadines as a full member; and the Bahamas Distilling Company, representing the Bahamas, as an associate member. WIRSPA members also welcomed Copal Tree Distillery of Belize to the Belize Rum Association.
Chairman Komal Samaroo stated, “Our growth in membership with Grenada, Haiti and Belize becoming full members last year, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines this year, as well as the re-entry of the Bahamas into WIRSPA, is evidence of the increasing relevance of the association to the industry in the region. Producers see a clear advantage in being part of a grouping that shares common rules, a philosophy of quality and authentic provenance, and strength in numbers.”
Producers, also recognising the relaxation of covid restrictions and the return of festivals in the region, underscored the urgent need for additional messaging to consumers on reducing harmful and excessive drinking especially through the summer period.
Leroy Neckles, head of the local grouping of rum producers said, “Rum producers in Grenada are proud to be among the first to carry new labels which display advisory logos against underage drinking, drinking and driving, and drinking during pregnancy.
“This is a step in the right direction”, he added, “and we are happy that our membership has made the effort to bring more awareness to the public about the responsible consumption of rum. “We will continue to develop and improve our labelling,” he concluded.
The producers from across the Caribbean exchanged views on domestic and international trade and market developments, and especially discussed the challenges raised by the rapidly increasing price of raw materials, energy and packaging.
Vaughn Renwick, WIRSPA CEO said, “Major input costs including molasses and fuel have risen considerably, in some cases by more than 50%.”
Further increases seem set to continue as post-covid demand for molasses grows, exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine and a lack of shipping containers and vessels both for inputs and exports. These issues are placing a significant resource strain on producers said Renwick, adding, “A shortage of glass bottles from regional suppliers, as well as delays in sourcing extra regional supplies are also causing major production and export challenges.”
Grenada Distillers Limited